Germany: sights and history
Germany is quite a popular tourist destination in Europe. High popularity of this country is characterized by cities with a large number of attractions from different periods of history. On the streets of most of these cities are a lot of castles, cathedrals, beautiful palaces, museums and monuments. Some of the cities have long traditions of the inhabitants, which involve the use of special costumes and celebrations.
Lübeck, the historic Hanseatic port city, is located about 50 km north-east of Hamburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The history of the most important Baltic city is connected with the Slavic settlement. Around the year 700, the Slavs settled on the River Trave, about 20 kilometers before it flowed into the Baltic Sea. However, they were soon replaced by the Saxons, expelled by Charlemagne in the ninth century. It was he who brought his allies from the Elbe tribe of the Wagr, who founded the town of Lübice. But it was completely destroyed in 1128.
Today Lübeck was founded fifteen years later by Adolf II, who built a castle here. As early as 1226, the small German settlement became a free imperial city, which in the early 1940s, along with Hamburg and Cologne, signed a treaty to protect maritime trade, which later gave birth to an association of trading cities called the Hanseatic League.
The center of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies between the River Trave . One of the oldest monuments is the so-called Holstein Gate, built between 1466 and 1477. Inspired by Flemish design, Hinrich Helmstede created a richly structured pediment with cylindrical towers. This gate used to be the only entrance to the city.
Its counterpart, the Burgthor, was preserved on the northern edge of the center and a Baroque dome was added in 1685. Also worth a visit is the Salzspacher from the turn of the 16th and 17th century, which served as a salt warehouse. Lübeck greets visitors with its towers from afar, so the number of its churches will not surprise either.
The unmistakable buildings also include the original and impressive town hall, the decoration of which ranges from Romanesque to Gothic and Renaissance. The museum in the Gothic Buddenbruckhaus, where the Nobel Prize winner lived, is dedicated to the family of Thomas Mann, the most famous native of the city.
Magdeburg, a historic university city with 230,000 inhabitants and the capital of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The name Magdeburg comes from the words Machte , meaning strength or power, and burg, meaning castle. According to historical documents, as long ago as 805 there was the Palatinate of Franconia with its market square. However, the greatest development occurred when the city was given as a wedding gift by the son of King Henry I Otto I, the future Holy Roman Emperor.
It was he who founded the monastery here, and in 968 the archbishopric in support of the eastern expansion. In 1188 Magdeburg received city rights and until the middle of the 15th century it served as the seat of the sovereign archbishop’s dominion. During the Thirty Years’ War, however, the city was sacked after a six-month siege and lost its influence. Other major losses occurred during World War II, when eighty percent of all buildings were destroyed.
The city center is located on the left bank of the Elbe River . On Alter Markt Square is the late 17th-century Baroque town hall, which was built on the late Mannerian foundations of its predecessor. In front of it stands the famous statue of the Magdeburg Rider. The second monument on the square is dedicated to the politician Otto von Gueric and commemorates the discovery of the evidence of atmospheric pressure using Magdeburg’s hemispheres. Further experiments of this scientist can be seen in his museum.
The most important building in Magdeburg is the massive Church of St. Moritz and Catherine . The original 10th-century Oton church, of which only the columns and part of the crypt remain today, acquired its present form after two reconstructions between the 13th and 16th centuries. The first Gothic cathedral in Germany boasts two towers over a hundred meters high and richly decorated portals. Also beautiful is the neighboring chapter house with its 13th-century cloister. The opposite of the city’s historic buildings is the Hundertwasser-style building with a minimum of right angles, called the Green Citadel.
Mainz, capital of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, located less than 40 km southwest of Frankfurt am Main. The fortress on the left bank of the Rhine was founded by the Celts, but in 39 BC it was driven out by the Romans, who built a military camp called Mogontiacum. However, there were soon big problems with the water supply, so in the first century AD it was necessary to build an aqueduct. The remains of a building with columns up to 23 meters high can now only be seen on the so-called Römerstein. In the 8th century an archbishopric was founded here, which soon became an independent principality. That it was relatively important is also confirmed by the fact that the Czech prince Wroclaw II received his royal title here in 1085 in the Reichstag, and in 1198 Přemysl Otakar I crowned him king of Bohemia.
The most famous local native is undoubtedly the inventor of printing, Johannes Gutenberg . A museum is dedicated to him, where one can see a copy of his workshop from 1450 and a number of rare prints, including the Gutenberg Bible and the Psalter, which used three colors for the first time. The main square, on which his statue stands, is named after the same genius . The line crossing the square points to the 50th parallel. Another museum, this time dedicated to the Roman Gaelic past, is in the Renaissance Electors’ Castle. Construction began in 1627, but was not completed until one hundred and fifty years later.
One of the most charming places in Mainz, the picturesque Kirschgarten street in the old town, where a sixteenth to eighteenth century half-timbered house was reconstructed after World War II. The dominant feature of the city is the so-called Kaiserdome. The red building is dedicated to St. Martin and together with the marquees in Speyer and Worms is one of the three surviving imperial domes. Also worth a visit is the Gothic Church of St. Stephen, which began in the 13th century on the older foundations of a 10th-century chapel. Along with much of the church’s decoration, the stained glass windows were destroyed during World War II . They were replaced by modern ones, some of which were painted by Marc Chagall.
Meißen, a charming historic town in the Elbe Valley, located about 25 km northwest of Dresden in the German state of Saxony. The former seat of the Margraves of Meißen was created from a sign, that is, the border region of the empire, which was founded in 929 Jindřich to facilitate the colonization of the Slavic territories in the east. Already in 37 years it was the residence of the margrave , and two years later the diocese. However, the greatest development of Meissen began in the XII century, after the surrounding communities united, and the Wettin family received the hereditary title of Margrave. It was from this family came the future Saxon electors and kings . In 1485, however, the Wettins moved to nearby Dresden, and the significance of the city began to decline.
Another revival was only in 1710, when Europe’s first porcelain factory was founded there. He still operates under the name of Meissen porcelain manufactory. Originally it was located in the castle of Albrechtsburg. It was built between 1471 and 1489 by Arnold von Westfalen for the brothers Ernest and Albrecht of the Wettin family. To this day, in addition to the beautiful interiors with frescoes with historical scenes, you can admire the unique magnificent outer spiral staircase.
One of Saxony’s most valuable medieval sacred monuments is just up the hill. The church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and St. Donatus, was built from the mid-13th to the mid-15th century, but the towers were not completed until the early 19th century. It is worth visiting the early Gothic sculptures, and the tombstone of George Poděbrady’s daughter Zdenka, located among the tombstones of the princes in the Electoral Chapel, is of interest to every tourist.
The center of Meissen is Markt square, which has a late Gothic town hall from the second half of the 15th century, Renaissance-style houses and the Church of Our Lady with the oldest porcelain carillon in the world. But the historic center also offers a pleasant stroll among the restored red-tile-roofed townhouses, where you can peek into quiet courtyards and enjoy romantic corners.
Attractions in Germany – Top 40
Modern Germany can come in many guises. For some, it is a country with a controversial history stretching back to the Roman Empire, for others – Germany is a model of calm and the rule of law in the center of Europe. The main thing is that the complex for a tourist, the twists and turns of the historical process can be fully experienced by visiting the sights of Germany.
German Historical Sights
1. the Brandenburg Gate
There is probably no other building in Germany that symbolizes all the major periods in the country’s history. The Brandenburg Gate, built during the time of the Prussian Kingdom, served both as a ceremonial entrance for German soldiers in the 18th century and as a dividing barrier between the GDR and the FRG. If you are in Berlin, take note of this landmark in Germany, it should be the first place to start your acquaintance with the whole country.
In the heart of the German capital is located a building known to every Russian. It was on the roof of the Reichstag in 1945, the soldiers of the Red Army hoisted the flag of victory, which became an important and momentous symbol of the liberation of Berlin. The building was badly damaged during the war, but today it has been fully restored and is open to tourists from all over the world, moreover, because of the influx of visitors, the Reichstag is the most visited parliament in the world.
3. Neuschwanstein Castle
This building is known not only as one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe, but also as the structure that inspired Walt Disney to create the “Castle of Sleeping Beauty” in Disneyland Paris. If you haven’t yet figured out what to see in Germany, Neuschwanstein is the perfect place for a multifaceted vacation: here you can admire the wonderful nature while strolling up the high hill on which the castle stands, or take a guided tour through the rich chambers of one of the most beautiful palaces in the world.
4. Bamberg Cathedral
There are few places in the world where you can see an architectural structure with a thousand years of history while perfectly preserving its original appearance. However, Bamberg Cathedral is something worth seeing in Germany if you are looking for true historical beauty and grace. This building allows you to experience the medieval culture of the German people, because it houses the tombs of legendary kings and sculptures of famous masters.
5. Berlin Wall
Speaking about the sights of Germany, we can not fail to mention the symbol of German modernity – the wall that for many years divided the people into two worlds: Eastern and Western. Its fall in 1989 is considered one of the key events for the whole modern Europe and its understanding of freedom. Today there is a memorial complex at the site of the Berlin Wall and the Chapel of Reconciliation stands beside the memorial in honor of the events of the past.
6. Cologne Cathedral
In its Gothic style and perched on a hilly hill, the Cologne Cathedral will delight even the pickiest of critics. The building’s elegant facades and interior decorations are a delight with their architectural lines, and the organ music, often heard within the walls of the cathedral, completes the picture. The long process of building the monastery is also unique: it took over 600 years to build the monastery, so it is still a sight to behold for tourists.
More tourist places in the capital of Germany you can see in the sights of Berlin.
7. Stolzenfels Castle
In the woods near the Middle Rhine valley is a palace with a unique history: it changed hands of German kings in the power of the French and Swedish conquerors, was destroyed and more than 150 years lay in ruins, then rebuilt again in the classical style, but with saving the Gothic interior rooms. For those who want to see the pearl of German sightseeing, enjoy the clean air of the surrounding forests and take in the mesmerizing atmosphere on the banks of the Rhine, the doors of Stolzenfels Castle are open.
8. The “Procession of Kings” wall
The lands of Saxony were famous for the names of rulers who liked to spend their leisure time here. Not surprisingly, the monumental panel “Procession of Kings”, assembled from 25,000 porcelain slabs, was created in Dresden. The wall of the royal court, on which portraits and faces of the highest nobility of Saxony are painstakingly laid out, has been preserved in its original form, unaffected by wars and battles. The subject of the panel depicts the life and reign of the Wettin dynasty, which ruled the lands of Germany for over half a century.
9. Bamberg Town Hall
The beautiful building, located on the river Regnitz, traces its history back to the 14th century. Legend has it that the Bishop of Bamberg forbade the construction of a town hall on his own land, as he was afraid of the wrath of heaven because of the fire that burned down the previous structure. The townspeople decided to cleverly sidestep his decision and erected the building on an artificial island, which they built themselves. The structure is notable for its large collection of porcelain and faience stored in the museum towers of the attraction, so that the avid traveler always has something to look at in Germany.
A huge palace complex built in baroque style with rococo elements. Inside the building you can visit the “Gallery of Beauties” with portraits of beautiful girls during the reign of Ludwig the Great, and the “Chinese Room” in Eastern style. To the north of the complex is a botanical garden, whose plants and trees have decorated the Nymphenburg for hundreds of years.